116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
SOLON — Every plan you’ve made to win your substate final baseball game goes out the window when your starting pitcher exits the game two hitters into it.
But Plan B for Mid-Prairie’s baseball team was pretty darned good. Make that Plan CM.
Collin Miller gave up just a run and struck out 12 in six emergency innings as Mid-Prairie brushed past sixth-ranked West Marshall, 3-1, Tuesday night in a Class 2A substate final. Mid-Prairie (18-10) is a state baseball tournament qualifier for the second time in three years.
Quarterfinal pairings were not immediately available.
“I saw his arm go,” Miller said. “I didn’t know how our team was going to respond, or how I was going to respond, but I knew I had to get up on the mound and pick up how we left off. Get in there, find my locations. My curveball was working, they were swinging and missing. Everything seemed to be working.”
It was sophomore Karson Grout who got the start for Mid-Prairie (18-10), but he lasted just two batters: striking out the first, then walking the second while clutching his left elbow. He played first base the rest of the bottom of the first, then didn’t play the rest of the game.
“Karson’s been healthy. I’m not sure what’s going on,” said Mid-Prairie Coach Kyle Mullet. “Elbow, it looks like. He’s been healthy all year, throwing it very well for us ... It is what it is, though. We’ve got more guys on the bench to take his place and go from there.”
Mid-Prairie scored three humongous runs in the top of the first inning against West Marshall lefty start Owen Siegert, and that was enough to win the game. Cain Brown led off with a single to center, then it was a walk and single through the right side by Grout.
A bases-loaded walk to Alex Bean put Mid-Prairie on the board, a flubbed grounder to shortstop scored another run, and a Tyler Helmuth RBI groundout to third base provided all the runs the Golden Hawks would need.
“Huge,” Mullet said. “Their pitcher had a slow start there, had a couple of walks, and we capitalized ... Anytime the opposing team walks us, we’ve got to capitalize and score runs.”
Miller continued to stymie West Marshall (28-9). The Trojans scored a run in the fifth and had runners at second and third with none out in the sixth, only to have him ‘K’ three straight hitters.
He ended up allowing two hits, five walks and one run in six innings, striking out 12.
“Curveball, and the fastball location,” Miller said. “I could put it where I wanted to.”
Freshman southpaw Brady Weber came on to pick up the last two outs of the game, after Miller hit his pitch count.
“We feel all our guys can compete,” said Mullet. “It’s kind of a toss up. We go with Grout tonight, our next game we were going with Collin. Collin has done an excellent job out of the pen, he used to be a relief guy. Collin has had experience, he’s been here and done it.”
This is the second state tournament appearance in three years for Mid-Prairie.
“Our guys fought, and I think we deserved to come out on top tonight,” Miller said.
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